Rochester Hills McDonald’s Ready to Rebuild

When the McDonald’s restaurant on Rochester Road north of Avon in Rochester Hills was damaged by a kitchen fire last fall, a sign went up out front that said “closed for remodeling.”

Owner Bill Saputo Jr. said he initially thought he would remodel. But with the interior 60-70 percent lost, ultimately “McDonald’s and myself and our commitment to provide what’s best for the city and the community decided to rebuild.”

Monday night, Rochester City Council approved his plans for a bigger, entirely new building with the latest and greatest amenities McDonald’s offers: free Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions, a smoothie and coffee bar, and more seating and a family restroom in the new play area.

The new restaurant will be divided into three areas; the PlayPlace, an open area in the center and “a back private section with some serenity,” Saputo said. “Top of the line, all new equipment but all the same smiling faces.”

Now if his insurance company would just sign off.

Saputo said he would like to start construction within two weeks, but “I’ve been getting two weeks (from the insurer) for the last seven months. … I’d like to be open Sept 2 for my birthday.”

When completed, the new brick-and-stone building will be 1,000 square-feet larger than the old restaurant, offer 25 more seats and 24-hour, side-by-side drive-thrus. With only one driveway to Rochester Road, cars will be able to circulate without having to deal with Rochester Road traffic.

That wasn’t possible under the old configuration, but it’s the current standard for McDonald’s, said architect Frank Martin, whose firm designs most of the McDonald’s restaurants in Michigan.

“A customer could circle the site … without going onto a major thoroughfare,” he said. “This is good for customers and obviously good for the community.”

The city is working with Saputo to try to allow access to his parking lot via the Lifetime Fitness driveway. Though a deal hasn’t yet been reached, the site has been designed to accommodate a future connection, city Planning Director Ed Anzek said. 

“We always work to obtain cross access when we can,” Anzek said. Even without that, he called the new traffic circulation scheme “a tremendous improvement. … We’re very appreciative of reducing the access from two driveways down to one.”

Though the planning commission approved the plans, some members were concerned about whether parking will be adequate. Saputo has tried to negotiation parking on the lot of the adjacent shopping center, but the price was too high.

The 1.1-acre site has been home to a McDonald’s for 35 years. Saputo, who grew up in Rochester Hills and now lives in Oakland Township, purchased it three years ago. He owns two other McDonald’s restaurants, one at Walton and Adams, the other in Shelby Township.

He said he was able to retain his management team during the restaurant’s closure by assigning them to other locations. The new restaurant will have 70 to 90 jobs.

By Annette Kingsbury

Comments

  1. William Saputo says

    Dear Annette –
    Great article! It was very nice to meet you. Thank you for getting this publication and information out there for me and my team.
    I wanted to see if you would do a followup to this publication say in about a month to include some color model photos of the interior designs?
    I really want to prime the pump of this locations opening and rebirth as much as I can without taking up too much of the spotlight or any of the glitter from the actual opening.
    any thought?

    thanks
    Bill
    248-343-2202

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